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Chocolate Museum and Cafe in Orlando Florida

Chocolate Museum and Cafe

Chocolate Museum and Café

11701 International Drive Orlando, FL 32821

Chocolate Museum and Cafe
Chocolate Museum and Cafe–located on International Drive in Orlando, FL

Who doesn’t love good chocolate? I am not talking about the kind you get at the local convenience store but rather hand crafted pieces made from the highest quality beans. OK, I know there are a few of you out there but for the rest of us, the Chocolate Museum and Café can be a heavenly experience. Expensive, but heavenly.

Located in the tourist heavy International Drive area of Orlando, the Museum and Café are just that. A museum and a café. Calling it a museum may be stretch, particularly for those with any kind of museum or history background. More what you have is a collection of items with little explanation or interpretive work. Visitors will mostly rely on their tour guide to provide information on what is displayed. You can visit the two parts of the attraction without the other though the museum tour is really a sales pitch for the café.

When you walk in you are greeted with display cases of beautifully molded chocolates and sweets. If you have not pre-bought your tour ticket, you pay here. The tour is not cheap at $17 for adults. I highly recommend watching Groupon for discounted tickets. That is where we go ours. With that and the sales offers Groupon regularly displays I believe our tickets were below $10 apiece. Much more reasonable and really, much more in line with what I might expect to pay for a tour that lasts around 45 minutes.

Your Tour Guide
Your Tour Guide provides background and introductory information

Your tour begins with a casually dressed guide leading you to a short video presentation then taking you into the “jungles” where you will learn about the cacao plant.

In the next room, you will learn about the history of chocolate and how this delicacy was discovered, so to speak. Chocolate has not always been a favorite taste and you will learn more here as to how it has developed over time.

Chocolate Making Equipment
Some early equipment that was used to make chocolate candies

Have you ever wondered how chocolate candies are made? The next room features displays of machinery used to create some of the most famous candies in the world.

Next, visit the chocolate sculpture room, where you will encounter the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Easter Island, Taj Mahal, Mount Rushmore, the Great Wall of China, and much more, all carved out of chocolate. It really is amazing what these artisans can create.

A Chocolate Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore recreated in chocolate
Eiffel Tower made of chocolate
The Eiffel Tower made of delicious chocolate
Great Wall of Chine made of chocolate
The Great Wall of China or should it be the Great Wall of Chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the tasting! Here your guide will prepare each visitor a small sampling of various chocolates where you will learn how different manufacturing techniques lead to differing tastes. SURPRISE! All the samples you just tried are for sale right outside as you step back into the lobby area.

Samples
At the end of your tour, sample some chocolates that are available for purchase
Display Cases loaded with chocolate from around the world
Display cases to tempt visitors with chocolates from around the world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The café offers a wide variety of chocolates made on site and from artisan chocolate companies. If you are looking for a snickers bar, head on down the road.

The café features a large assortment of coffee drinks, baked goods, pastries, sandwiches and gelatos. I will tell you, the hot chocolate is delicious and the gelatos were amazing. We did not try any of the sandwiches but we did indulge with several pieces of chocolate to go. As would be expected, prices are not cheap and your bill can add up quickly.

We had a good time even though from a “museum” point of view it fell flat. I would not recommend this for families however. It is not a cheap visit and kids probably will not grasp the difference between these chocolates and a Hershey bar. It is good for a couple’s afternoon out or maybe with a few friends.

The museum and café are open noon until 6 p.m. every day. Museum tours begin at 1 p.m. and run every hour with the last tour at 5 p.m.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

Chocolate for Beginners
Chocolate in Mesoamerica: A Cultural History of Cacao
Great Moments in Chocolate History w/ 20 Classic Recipes
Chocolate Wars


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Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, Florida

Jack Kerouac House
1418 Clouser Avenue
Orlando, FL 32804

By Kerouac_by_Palumbo.jpg: Tom Palumbo from New York, NY, USA derivative work: Sir
Richardson at en.wikipedia – This file was derived from: Kerouac by Palumbo.jpg:, CC BY-SA
2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85963062

When most people think of the Beat Generation, certain visuals often come to mind.
Unemployed young adults, sitting around a coffee house in San Francisco, smoking away, rambling on self-importantly about books most of main stream America has never read seems to often fit the description. These descriptors are really about beatniks and not a literary movement. For those a bit more acquainted with the Beat Generation, certain names will come immediately to mind; Kerouac, Burroughs, Kesey, Ginsberg, and maybe even Ferlinghetti. Literature titles such as Howl, Naked Lunch, and On the Road are probably the most famous. Despite the passage of nearly seventy years, these books and others of the movement are still in print and widely read today.

In July of 1957, only months before the groundbreaking On the Road would receive tremendous praise in the New York Times, the then 32-year-old Kerouac rented a small apartment for him and his mother. The home did not have air conditioning and the Florida heat was almost too much for Kerouac, who took to writing at night. Today, visitors to the city of Orlando have the opportunity to see the home where Jack Kerouac and his mother lived during 1957, the year that catapulted him to fame.

The praise was not to be long, nor universal. The beatnik movement seemed to take over. Musician David Amram believes that the beatnik movement was a manufactured one, arguing Beat writers such as Kerouac were not the goateed, beret wearing, pretentious types. Rather, he described themselves as hicks, not wanting to draw attention to themselves. Author Bob Kealing, a noted Kerouac expert, has put forth that Kerouac himself claimed that those of the Beat Generation “were searching for spiritual truth and meaning beyond the confines of post-World War II life.” This search is what confounded and worried critics.

Meanwhile, in his small Orlando apartment, Kerouac continued typing away on his follow-up, to
be titled Dharma Bums. In a rapid fire twelve days of output, Kerouac finished the novel on
December 7, 1957, Pearl Harbor Day. Kealing reminds us that to Kerouac, the term “dharma”
meant truth.

In April 1958, Jack and his mother packed into a station wagon owned by Robert Frank and
made off for Long Island, New York. Dharma Bums was published in October of that year.
Fame was not something Kerouac was ever comfortable with, nor does it seem that he sought it
out. Kerouac was to become too familiar with the bottom of a bottle, and on October 21, 1969, at
age 47, he died a painful death from cirrhosis of the liver. His remains were transported to
Lowell, Massachusetts, where he was buried at Edson Cemetery.

Jack Kerouac House, Orlando, FL

Listed today on the National Register of Historic Places, the future of the Orlando, Florida Kerouac House was not always assured. Once it was determined that this location was the residence of Kerouac during a critical time in the author’s life, efforts began in order to purchase and rehabilitate the house. Led by Kealing, former bookstore owners Marty and Jan Cummins, and others, they founded the not-for-profit Kerouac Project of Orlando. With the generous financial support of Jeffrey Cole and Cole National, they were able to purchase and rehabilitate the house. Today, the Project provides several writer in residence opportunities each year, allowing the visiting author to live and work in the home made famous by Jack Kerouac.

The home is not open to the public. Those wishing to see the house may drive by and briefly stop to take it in. There is not public parking available and this is a residential area so please be mindful of those who live in the area and if you are taking photos be on the watch for traffic. A state of Florida historical marker is on-site. The text reads

State of Florida Historic Marker–Jack Kerouac House Orlando, FL

Writer Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) lived and wrote in this 1920s tin-roofed house between 1957 and 1958. It was here that Kerouac received instant fame for publication of his bestselling book, On the Road, which brought him acclaim and controversy as the voice of The Beat Generation. The Beats followed a philosophy of self-reliance and self-expression. The unedited spontaneity of Kerouac’s prose shocked traditional writers, yet it brought attention to a legion of emerging poets, musicians, and artists who lived outside the conventions of post-World War II America. Photographs show Kerouac in the house’s back bedroom, with piles of pocket notebooks in which he scrawled thoughts and dreams while traveling. In April 1958, following completion of his follow-up novel, The Dharma Bums, and a play, the Beat Generation, Kerouac moved to Northport, New York. He died in 1969 at the age of 47. In 1996, author Bob Kealing discovered the house’s significance while researching an article to mark Kerouac’s 75th birthday. In 1998, The Kerouac Project established a retreat here for aspiring writers in tribute to him. In 2013, the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

To learn more about Jack Kerouac and his time in Florida, readers should find a copy of Bob Kealing’s excellent book, Kerouac in Florida.

Readers wishing to learn more about the Beat Generation, I recommend Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America, or perhaps Women of the Beat Generation: the Writers, Artists, and Muses at the Heart of a Generation. 

Sources:
Florida Master Site File, OR8407

Kealing, Bob. “The Road to Kerouac: He Came to Orlando in 1957.” Orlando Sentinel. March 9,
1997.

National Park Service. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Jack Kerouac
House. 2013.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may
receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 

Desolate Angel

Women of the Beat Generation

The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

Allen Ginsberg, Howl
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs